In 1980, Father George Clements of Chicago, Illinois, originated created the One Church One Child concept. Recognizing that there were over 700 African-American churches and approximately 500 African-American children needing permanent homes in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, Fr. Clements noted that if one family from each of the churches would adopt one child, the problem would be eliminated. He took this message to his pulpit passionately sharing the plight of African-American children who were abandoned, abused, or neglected.
Initially, his plea seemed to fall on deaf ears as no one responded. After some reflection and prayer, he returned to the pulpit and announced, “Well, if you won’t adopt, then I will.” This decision created a lot of controversy in his home parish and made front-page news in the Chicago Sun-Times. His fight to adopt went from his parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago to the Vatican in Rome.
In a ground-breaking decision by the Vatican in 1981, Fr. Clements became the first priest in history to ever adopt a child. Through much dialogue with some key state officials, clergy from all different faiths began to deliver the adoption need message from their pulpits and the number of children needing permanent homes in Chicago fell from a staggering 1,000 in 1980 to 150 by 1987. Before reaching his limit, Fr. Clements had adopted four teenage boys! His first adoption is told in The Father Clements Story, an Emmy nominated movie starring Louis Gossett, Jr. (as Father Clements) and Malcolm-Jamaal Warner (as Joey, his first child). Father George Harold Clements passed away on November 25, 2019.
One Church One Child of North/North Central Texas and Surrounding Counties of Texas, Inc. (OCOCTexas), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, was established in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in the late 1980s and has been a leader in faith-based recruitment of foster and adoptive families since incorporated in 1995. OCOC has been a licensed child placing agency with the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services since 2005. OCOC leads the Tarrant County Kinship Network which serves kinship families and coordinated the work of the Recruitment Response Team for Texas from 2004 – 2009 with AdoptUsKids, a national media campaign to recruit adoptive families.
OCOC also has strong ties with foster parent associations and other social service providers. OCOC continues to offer support services to families and children in foster care including training, school clothing, toy drives, and resource assistance. Parent support group services are available through S.A.F.E.T. Net (Sharing Adoptive Family Experiences Through Networking), funded in part by a mini-grant from the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC).
The One Church One Child model effectively supports a platform for community awareness and education about children in foster care with its proven strategies for conducting faith-based recruitment. For more than 15 years, our methods have been implemented in collaboration with Texas DFPS to address the disproportionality of African American children in foster care and to target prospective adoptive and foster families through specialized faith-based recruitment.
One Church One Child is now Advantage Adoptions - OCOC!